Thursday, August 27, 2015

What One Local Catholic Group is Doing to Support the Iran Deal

Catholics in the United States have been mobilizing across the country all summer long to build support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka the Iran deal).

Two Pax Christi members who are active in their local Pax Christi region (Pax Christi New Jersey), Father Gene Squeo and Carol Fay, were so concerned about this issue, that they got up around 4 am on Friday, August 21st and paid last minute train fares to head to DC and meet with two of Senator Booker's aides in his DC office.  

Gene and Carol were joined by three other faith community colleagues at the meeting - Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International, Kate Gould of FCNL, who has headed up their Iran nuclear agreement activities for over two years and Bob Cooke of Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore.

Father Squeo, a retired priest in the Archdiocese of Newark who is also a lawyer, relayed to Will the moral need for this agreement and how it will make the world a much safer place. Carol, who is the head of the religion department at Holy Angels Academy in Demarest, also spoke eloquently for the need for this agreement, the need for diplomacy over violence.

While Will was noncommittal on the Senators stand, he thanked the group for coming all this way and for also providing at least one good argument for the agreement that he had not heard voiced before.

To make good use of their time, Gene and Carol then headed over to the White House for the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker's weekly noontime vigil there, which has been going on for well over 20 years.  They spoke with, and had their picture taken with Sister Megan Rice, out of prison and now living in the DC area and continuing her work to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Pax Christi New Jersey is one of the local groups that have been working on this issue.  Since mid-August (before Senator Menendez came out against the agreement), in coalition with other groups including NJ Peace Action, Coalition for Peace Action, MoveOn, NJ Citizen Action and others they have been mobilizing their members and other peace activists in the state. This coordinated effort has included meeting with Senator Booker’s aides and Senator Menendez himself, as well as members of Congress in various parts of New Jersey.

Pax Christi New Jersey has been working at identifying constituents for legislative meetings,as well mobilizing constituents to make calls, send emails, sign petitions and show up at rallies in support of the Iran deal. The tactics include a social media presence that includes blog postings, coordinated tweets, and a Facebook event page.  The event page serves as a virtual bulletin board for all things related to local action and sometimes daily changing messaging on the Iran deal including phone numbers, revised call-in scripts, Twitter hashtags, and news and details about local events.

This Saturday August 29th,  Pax Christi New Jersey will be co-sponsoring and participating in the second action in one week in support of the Iran deal outside Senator Booker’s office in Newark.

For information on local actions, call-in scripts and phone numbers

For the Pax Christi NJ Statement in response to Senator Menendez’s rejection of the Iran deal

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pax Christi NJ Joining Catholics Groups in DC to Lobby at Cory Booker's Office

Members of Pax Christi NJ will be travelling to DC to meet with Cory Booker's foreign relations staff and urge his support for the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (aka the Iran deal). 

Please call Sen Booker's DC office tomorrow to support their efforts at (202) 224-3224. 

Call-in script for Friday:
"Hello my name is______. I am a constituent and a member of Pax Christi. I am calling to thank the senator's staff for meeting with Pax Christi this morning about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and urge the senator to choose diplomacy and vote in favor of the Iran deal. Thank you."

If you have a twitter account you can tweet the senator @corybooker use the following hashtags

This is a large meeting. It will include Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi International, Maryknoll Office of Global Concern, the Sisters of Mercy, the Franciscan Action Network, and the Columban Fathers. 

Pax Christi New Jersey’s Official Statement on Senator Menendez’s rejection of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

August 19, 2015- Yesterday during what was called a “major policy speech” Senator Menendez announced that he would not only vote against the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action he would also vote in favor of any veto override. While we are not surprised by Senator Menendez’s announcement, we are disappointed.

The leadership and the membership of Pax Christi New Jersey, a region of Pax Christi USA which represents the Catholic peace movement in the United States, would like to respond to the senator that his past opposition to the war in Iraq is not a justification of his current rejection of diplomacy with Iran and the opportunity to build on a nuclear-free Middle East. 

We point to the Vatican and its 2014 statement on nuclear weapons entitled Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition, which stated “Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession, thereby clearing the road to nuclear abolition.”  We believe that this agreement will set us on a path to not only curb Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon but also serve as an important step toward nuclear non-proliferation and ultimately nuclear abolition.

Pax Christi New Jersey sides with Pope Francis, the Vatican, the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and numerous other Catholic clergy, women religious and lay leaders in its belief that this agreement will foster greater dialogue and help create a more peaceful world.


About Pax Christi
Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA (PCUSA) is a membership organization that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism. As PCUSA, a section of Pax Christi International, we are a Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ in our witness to the mandate of the nonviolence of the Cross.